Malaysia: Exports growth slows markedly in November
January 4, 2019
Exports grew 1.1% in November over the same month a year earlier in USD terms. The meagre growth was markedly down from October’s 19.6% year-on-year expansion and reflected whopping growth in exports of refined petroleum products being significantly offset by a sharper contraction in exports of palm oil and palm oil-based products, as well as a drop in electrical and electronic-product exports. In ringgit terms, exports expanded at the slightly stronger clip of 1.6% over the same month in 2017—this was nonetheless markedly down from the 17.7% year-on-year increase in October.
Import growth also moderated noticeable from a 13.2% yoy expansion in October to a 4.6% increase in November. This reflected softer growth in consumption goods and a small rebound in capital goods imports while intermediate goods imports fell. In ringgit terms, import growth eased from a 11.4% yoy increase in October to a 5.0% expansion in November.
As a result, the trade surplus narrowed strongly from USD 3.9 billion in October to USD 1.8 billion in November. The result was also down from the USD 2.4 billion surplus registered in November 2017. The 12-month moving sum of the trade surplus also narrowed, from USD 29.7 billion in October to USD 29.1 billion in November.
Malaysia Trade Balance Forecast
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports and imports to grow 3.6% and 3.6% respectively in 2019, with the trade surplus reaching USD 27.4 billion. In 2020, they see export and import growth at 6.2% and 5.4% respectively, with the trade surplus narrowing to USD 30.9 billion.
Author: Jan Lammersen, Economist